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"More needs to be done": Shocking congestion showing why more Londoners don't cycle; Jakobsen on working for "idol" Mark Cavendish; Bike shop jargon; Froome breakaway; Vaughters addresses 'Super League' views + more on the live blog

It's Thursday and Dan Alexander is in the saddle for another live blog...
22 April 2021, 17:23
"If people feel safe to cycle, they will and they do": Londoners share pics and footage of congestion to show why more don't cycle

You've heard this one before, but as lockdown has lifted and more traffic begins to return to the roads, those who don't take the car to work are feeling frustrated with the volume of traffic on the roads... and when it comes to heavy traffic, there's probably nowhere in the UK more congested than London.

In reply to Peter Lorence, London Cycling Campaign said: "We know that when people are enabled to enjoy safe and convenient cycling, they do it, and motor traffic levels drop substantially. We need bold action to make this happen across London." 

Jeremy Vine also posted on Twitter once more to denounce the decision to remove the cycle lane on Kensington High Street, and sharing another bit of dangerous driving following his very near miss with a London cab driver three days ago: "I was passing the Dutch Embassy. Holland has some of the best cycling lanes in the world, but their London staff have to mix it on this SIX-lane road", he added. 

Have you noticed that traffic has increased further still since the lifting of lockdown? Let us know your thoughts as always. 

22 April 2021, 15:56
Drink at Your Desk Live! with Alex Dowsett

We'll give you another nudge tomorrow closer to the time but we've got the second episode of our new YouTube series Drink at Your Desk Live! coming up at 4pm tomorrow. We'll be cracking open a cold one with special guest Alex Dowsett to get the weekend started in style. If you missed our first episode with Watford and former England goalkeeper Ben Foster then check it out here...

22 April 2021, 15:50
Giro-E to run parallel to the Giro d'Italia
giro e 1

The Giro-E is the world's only stage event exclusively reserved for e-bike riders. This year it will run parallel to, on the same day as, the pros riding the Giro d'Italia and will involve e-bike riders covering shorter routes based around the same host cities and towns as the professional race. It starts on 8 May and arrives in Milan on 30 May taking in all the highlights of the pro's experience too: signing on, six jerseys, awards ceremonies and hospitality. Over 21 stages the route covers 1,540km and 25,500 metres of climbing. Highlights of the route include the fearsome Zoncolan, Passo Giau and Pordoi. 

22 April 2021, 15:23
Good driving

Let's do some more good driving shall we? You can check out Near Miss of the Day 573 for the usual standard but let's highlight how it's done properly too...Top stuff.

22 April 2021, 14:58
EF Education-Nippo boss Jonathan Vaughters explains Super League comments

Jonathan Vaughters spoke to Cycling Tips to clarify his support for football's now-collapsed European Super League. The team boss came under plenty of criticism from cycling fans this side of the pond for failing to realise that British football clubs are more community-centred and have longer established traditions of loyal fanbases than in American sport.

He accpted he was probably wrong about football but explained how a 'Super League' could work for cycling: "Cycling is so fragmented," he said. "There is not a unifying force in cycling. The AIGCP [the association of professional men’s teams – ed.] is totally dysfunctional. Velon, for all intents and purposes, has sort of lost its bite. The sport is run by ASO and, to a lesser degree, the UCI. Neither one of them really see value in either financial fairness or in elimination of promotion or relegation.

"If you look at my Twitter feed, people are like, ‘This is greedy owners, you’re thinking about this from a greed perspective, and it’s only about making money. You’re not seeing this from a fan perspective, from an emotional perspective. But they’re right, I’m not seeing it from a fan’s perspective because I’m not a fan of football. I know nothing about football. I only know about the business side."

22 April 2021, 14:19
Bike shop jargon

Anyone got any bad bike shop experiences? I'd say I've been fairly lucky whenever I've needed to get a bit of extra knowledge for a bike-related issue. No talking down to and no fleecing an extra job or three...

Fettle is certainly an interesting idea. It looks like bike repair if you really don't want to have to go to a bike shop. Plus the ad is actually quite funny. No doubt there will be plenty of people loyal to their local bike shop and lucky enough to get great service every time. But I guess it is a good opportunity to ask you lot for any bike shop shockers?

22 April 2021, 13:48
Pello Bilbao dedicates Tour of the Alps win to Michele Scarponi

A twisting descent off the mountain decided this afternoon's stage in the Alps...Dan Martin fell after coming into a hairpin bend too hot. Pello Bilbao managed to bridge across to Simon Yates and Aleksandr Vlasov and won the sprint ahead of the Russian with race leader Yates third.

Today marked the fourth anniversary of Michele Scarponi's death. The popular rider's final race was the Tour of the Alps back when it was called Giro del Trentino. That year he won the opening stage on the way to finishing fourth.

At the finish, Bilbao dedicated his win to Scarponi, his former teammate at Astana.

22 April 2021, 12:53
Another Richmond Park driver where they shouldn't be

Derek Green speculated this driver must have a special pass that allows them to ignore no entry signs and squeeze past closed turnings...At least, ignoring the driving for a second, it is good to see so many people out using the park to ride their bikes...

22 April 2021, 11:46
Alexei Sayle's lockdown bike ride

22 April 2021, 10:50
First 2021 Tour of Britain teams revealed

The first six team who will be riding the Tour of Britain have been revealed. SweetSpot and British Cycling have decided to invite all five of Britain's UCI Continental teams as well as the GB Cycling Team. Canyon dhb SunGod and SwiftCarbon Pro Cycling return to the race having previously won jerseys at the event. Ribble Weldtite Pro Cycling, Saint Piran and TRINITY Racing will all be making their Tour of Britain debuts in September.

The national Great Britain Cycling Team has been a mainstay at the race, competing at 13 of the 16 modern Tours to date, including every edition since 2012 and has provided a platform for young British riders such as Tao Geoghegan Hart, Simon Yates and Hugh Carthy. With five UCI Continental Teams on the startlist it will be the most home teams at the race since 2015.

Race director Mick Bennett said they wanted to reward the teams in recognition of the challenges faced during the last 12 months as the pandemic cut racing opportunities.

"Together with British Cycling, we understand the challenges that they have faced over the past 14 months," he said. "We hope that these early invitations give them the chance to plan ahead to September, safe in the knowledge that their place is assured, so that they can arrive at the Tour of Britain in the best possible condition. We know from recent editions of the race that the Great British squad and domestic teams can illuminate the race – I’m looking forward to more of the same later this year."

22 April 2021, 10:11
Chris Froome makes the breakaway on stage four of the Tour of the Alps
22 April 2021, 09:53
Haute Route Crans-Montana

The Haute Route is counting down the days until the first of its 'real' events in 2021. With travel and mass-participation events put on hold during the pandemic, the Haute Route Crans-Montana will see a return to the multi-stage challenge in its traditional form: lots of cyclists riding long stages over challenging terrain. In 50 days, 300 riders will take on the three-day Swiss challenge, taking in 223km of riding and 8,100m of elevation gain, including the monster climb over Sanetsch Pass. The Haute Route Watopia kicked off the 2021 series in true pandemic style with 68,000 people riding on Zwift, but I'm sure we're all looking forward to ditching Zoom calls or virtual challenges and getting back to normal...

22 April 2021, 09:27
Fabio Jakobsen recalls emotional return to racing helping "idol" Mark Cavendish win

 Fabio Jakobsen's return to racing, coupled with Mark Cavendish winning four stages, made the Tour of Turkey a race to remember for Deceuninck-Quick-Step. Jakobsen had not raced for nine months since last August when he suffered a horrendous crash at the Tour of Poland which left him in a coma in hospital. His recovery has been long but the 24-year-old was delighted to be back in the peloton alongside his idol...

"It’s great to work for him," Jakobsen said. "He finished it off four times, so he deserved it. Hearing Mark say that he’s proud of me is really special. That already started in December, the guys took me along the rides and supported me all the time. Mark is one of my idols and he’s a really big example for me. I listen to him and follow all his advice. I hope to be as good as Mark one day."

Despite not getting his hands in the air, the 2019 Dutch national champion feels as though his comeback is a victory in itself. "In my mind I’ve already won a couple of races, which makes me confident. I think they were a bit nervous back home, but they are happy for me and I’m excited to see them again and spend time with them before my next race, where I hope my improvement will continue."

Jakobsen's return to the peloton was celebrated by fans, fellow pros and pundits alike and a touching photo of him checking up on a rider who had crashed did the rounds on social media early in the week. 

"The first stage still felt a bit weird, as I had to find my feelings on the bike again," he continued. "There’s always a couple of times the bunch makes a swing to the left or right, and guys have to brake. The first time it happened I felt a bit scared, but the second time that feeling already got less and the third time it was almost gone.

"Everybody is happy I made it back and the welcome I got was touching and beautiful to see. I spoke with a lot of guys in the peloton and it felt like coming home in a race. I spoke with colleagues from my age, but also older guys. They all said they were glad I was back and they were happy to see me at the race. It feels good that I’m back."

22 April 2021, 07:55
Beale-ing good: EastEnders actor Adam Woodyatt loving life on two wheels

"Another day, another bike ride" is a slogan we can get behind. Especially if it includes Ian Beale becoming a mega cycling fan. Adam Woodyatt has been filling his time while on a break from the soap by hitting the lanes and trails on his mountain bike in a slightly terrifying would definitely ride faster if you saw that coming up behind you.

Woodyatt says cycling has helped him slim down and that a bit of encouragement from co-star Jake Wood (Max Branning in the show) has helped keep him on track. 

"He goes running – I go cycling," he said. "Like my mate Mr Wood says, 'you got to get out there. You got to do it.'"

Too right. 

Dan joined as live blog editor last year. He has previously written about various sports including football and boxing for the Daily Express and covered the weird and wonderful world of non-league football for The Non-League Paper. Part of the generation inspired by the 2012 Olympics, Dan has been a keen cyclist ever since and spends his weekends exploring the south of England on two wheels. 

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